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The Road (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Cormac McCarthy
4.6 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (29 commentaires client)

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Best known for his Border Trilogy, hailed in the San Francisco Chronicle as "an American classic to stand with the finest literary achievements of the century," Cormac McCarthy has written ten rich and often brutal novels, including the bestselling No Country for Old Men, and The Road. Profoundly dark, told in spare, searing prose, The Road is a post-apocalyptic masterpiece, one of the best books we've read this year, but in case you need a second (and expert) opinion, we asked Dennis Lehane, author of equally rich, occasionally bleak and brutal novels, to read it and give us his take. Read his glowing review below. --Daphne Durham

Guest Reviewer: Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane, master of the hard-boiled thriller, generated a cult following with his series about private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, wowed readers with the intense and gut-wrenching Mystic River, blew fans all away with the mind-bending Shutter Island, and switches gears with Coronado, his new collection of gritty short stories (and one play).

Cormac McCarthy sets his new novel, The Road, in a post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and marauding bands of cannibals roam the environment with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth. If this sounds oppressive and dispiriting, it is. McCarthy may have just set to paper the definitive vision of the world after nuclear war, and in this recent age of relentless saber-rattling by the global powers, it's not much of a leap to feel his vision could be not far off the mark nor, sadly, right around the corner. Stealing across this horrific (and that's the only word for it) landscape are an unnamed man and his emaciated son, a boy probably around the age of ten. It is the love the father feels for his son, a love as deep and acute as his grief, that could surprise readers of McCarthy's previous work. McCarthy's Gnostic impressions of mankind have left very little place for love. In fact that greatest love affair in any of his novels, I would argue, occurs between the Billy Parham and the wolf in The Crossing. But here the love of a desperate father for his sickly son transcends all else. McCarthy has always written about the battle between light and darkness; the darkness usually comprises 99.9% of the world, while any illumination is the weak shaft thrown by a penlight running low on batteries. In The Road, those batteries are almost out--the entire world is, quite literally, dying--so the final affirmation of hope in the novel's closing pages is all the more shocking and maybe all the more enduring as the boy takes all of his father's (and McCarthy's) rage at the hopeless folly of man and lays it down, lifting up, in its place, the oddest of all things: faith. --Dennis Lehane


When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. His hand rose and fell softly with each precious breath. He pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the stinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none. In the dream from which he'd wakened he had wandered in a cave where the child led him by the hand. Their light playing over the wet flowstone walls. Like pilgrims in a fable swallowed up and lost among the inward parts of some granitic beast. Deep stone flues where the water dripped and sang. Tolling in the silence the minutes of the earth and the hours and the days of it and the years without cease. Until they stood in a great stone room where lay a black and ancient lake. And on the far shore a creature that raised its dripping mouth from the rimstone pool and stared into the light with eyes dead white and sightless as the eggs of spiders. It swung its head low over the water as if to take the scent of what it could not see. Crouching there pale and naked and translucent, its alabaster bones cast up in shadow on the rocks behind it. Its bowels, its beating heart. The brain that pulsed in a dull glass bell. It swung its head from side to side and then gave out a low moan and turned and lurched away and loped soundlessly into the dark.

With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south. Barren, silent, godless. He thought the month was October but he wasnt sure. He hadnt kept a calendar for years. They were moving south. There'd be no surviving another winter here.

When it was light enough to use the binoculars he glassed the valley below. Everything paling away into the murk. The soft ash blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop. He studied what he could see. The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of color. Any movement. Any trace of standing smoke. He lowered the glasses and pulled down the cotton mask from his face and wiped his nose on the back of his wrist and then glassed the country again. Then he just sat there holding the binoculars and watching the ashen daylight congeal over the land. He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.

When he got back the boy was still asleep. He pulled the blue plastic tarp off of him and folded it and carried it out to the grocery cart and packed it and came back with their plates and some cornmeal cakes in a plastic bag and a plastic bottle of syrup. He spread the small tarp they used for a table on the ground and laid everything out and he took the pistol from his belt and laid it on the cloth and then he just sat watching the boy sleep. He'd pulled away his mask in the night and it was buried somewhere in the blankets. He watched the boy and he looked out through the trees toward the road. This was not a safe place. They could be seen from the road now it was day. The boy turned in the blankets. Then he opened his eyes. Hi, Papa, he said.

I'm right here.

I know.

An hour later they were on the road. He pushed the cart and both he and the boy carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks were essential things. In case they had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watch the road behind them. He shifted the pack higher on his shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the still gray serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? he said. The boy nodded. Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other's world entire.

They crossed the river by an old concrete bridge and a few miles on they came upon a roadside gas station. They stood in the road and studied it. I think we should check it out, the man said. Take a look. The weeds they forded fell to dust about them. They crossed the broken asphalt apron and found the tank for the pumps. The cap was gone and the man dropped to his elbows to smell the pipe but the odor of gas was only a rumor, faint and stale. He stood and looked over the building. The pumps standing with their hoses oddly still in place. The windows intact. The door to the service bay was open and he went in. A standing metal toolbox against one wall. He went through the drawers but there was nothing there that he could use. Good half-inch drive sockets. A ratchet. He stood looking around the garage. A metal barrel full of trash. He went into the office. Dust and ash everywhere. The boy stood in the door. A metal desk, a cashregister. Some old automotive manuals, swollen and sodden. The linoleum was stained and curling from the leaking roof. He crossed to the desk and stood there. Then he picked up the phone and dialed the number of his father's house in that long ago. The boy watched him. What are you doing? he said.

A quarter mile down the road he stopped and looked back. We're not thinking, he said. We have to go back. He pushed the cart off the road and tilted it over where it could not be seen and they left their packs and went back to the station. In the service bay he dragged out the steel trashdrum and tipped it over and pawed out all the quart plastic oilbottles. Then they sat in the floor decanting them of their dregs one by one, leaving the bottles to stand upside down draining into a pan until at the end they had almost a half quart of motor oil. He screwed down the plastic cap and wiped the bottle off with a rag and hefted it in his hand. Oil for their little slutlamp to light the long gray dusks, the long gray dawns. You can read me a story, the boy said. Cant you, Papa? Yes, he said. I can.

. . .

On the far side of the river valley the road passed through a stark black burn. Charred and limbless trunks of trees stretching away on every side. Ash moving over the road and the sagging hands of blind wire strung from the blackened lightpoles whining thinly in the wind. A burned house in a clearing and beyond that a reach of meadowlands stark and gray and a raw red mudbank where a roadworks lay abandoned. Farther along were billboards advertising motels. Everything as it once had been save faded and weathered. At the top of the hill they stood in the cold and the wind, getting their breath. He looked at the boy. I'm all right, the boy said. The man put his hand on his shoulder and nodded toward the open country below them. He got the binoculars out of the cart and stood in the road and glassed the plain down there where the shape of a city stood in the grayness like a charcoal drawing sketched across the waste. Nothing to see. No smoke. Can I see? the boy said. Yes. Of course you can. The boy leaned on the cart and adjusted the wheel. What do you see? the man said. Nothing. He lowered the glasses. It's raining. Yes, the man said. I know.

They left the cart in a gully covered with the tarp and made their way up the slope through the dark poles of the standing trees to where he'd seen a running ledge of rock and they sat under the rock overhang and watched the gray sheets of rain blow across the valley. It was very cold. They sat huddled together wrapped each in a blanket over their coats and after a while the rain stopped and there was just the dripping in the woods.

When it had cleared they went down to the cart and pulled away the tarp and got their blankets and the things they would need for the night. They went back up the hill and made their camp in the dry dirt under the rocks and the man sat with his arms around the boy trying to warm him. Wrapped in the blankets, watching the nameless dark come to enshroud them. The gray shape of the city vanished in the night's onset like an apparition and he lit the little lamp and set it back out of the wind. Then they walked out to the road and he took the boy's hand and they went to the top of the hill where the road crested and where they could see out over the darkening country to the south, standing there in the wind, wrapped in their blankets, watching for any sign of a fire or a lamp. There was nothing. The lamp in the rocks on the side of the hill was little more than a mote of light and after a while they walked back. Everything too wet to make a fire. They ate their poor meal cold and lay down in their bedding with the lamp between them. He'd brought the boy's book but the boy was too tired for reading. Can we leave the lamp on till I'm asleep? he said. Yes. Of course we can.

He was a long time going to sleep. After a while he turned and looked at the man. His face in the small light streaked with black from the rain like some old world thespian. Can I ask you something? he said.

Yes. Of course.

Are we going to die?

Sometime. Not now.

And we're still going south.


So we'll be warm.



Okay what?

Nothing. Just okay.

Go to sleep.


I'm going to blow out the lamp. Is that okay?

Yes. That's okay.

And then later in the darkness: Can I ask you something?

Yes. Of course you can.

What would you do if I died?

If you died I would want to die too.

So you could be with me?

Yes. So I could be with you.


He lay listening to the water drip in the woods. Bedrock, this. The cold and the silence. The ashes of the late world carried on the bleak and temporal winds to and fro in the void. Carried forth and scattered and carried forth again. Everything uncoupled from its shoring. Unsupported in the ashen air. Sustained by a breath, trembling and brief. If only my heart were stone.

He woke before dawn and watched the gray day break. Slow and half opaque. He rose while the boy slept and pulled on his shoes and wrapped in his blanket he walked out through the trees. He descended into a gryke in the stone and there he crouched coughing and he coughed for a long time. Then he just knelt in the ashes. He raised his face to the paling day. Are you there? he whispered. Will I see you at the last? Have you a neck by which to throttle you? Have you a heart? Damn you eternally have you a soul? Oh God, he whispered. Oh God.

They passed through the city at noon of the day following. He kept the pistol to hand on the folded tarp on top of the cart. He kept the boy close to his side. The city was mostly burned. No sign of life. Cars in the street caked with ash, everything covered with ash and dust. Fossil tracks in the dried sludge. A corpse in a doorway dried to leather. Grimacing at the day. He pulled the boy closer. Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.

You forget some things, dont you?

Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.

There was a lake a mile from his uncle's farm where he and his uncle used to go in the fall for firewood. He sat in the back of the rowboat trailing his hand in the cold wake while his uncle bent to the oars. The old man's feet in their black kid shoes braced against the uprights. His straw hat. His cob pipe in his teeth and a thin drool swinging from the pipebowl. He turned to take a sight on the far shore, cradling the oarhandles, taking the pipe from his mouth to wipe his chin with the back of his hand. The shore was lined with birchtrees that stood bone pale against the dark of the evergreens beyond. The edge of the lake a riprap of twisted stumps, gray and weathered, the windfall trees of a hurricane years past. The trees themselves had long been sawed for firewood and carried away. His uncle turned the boat and shipped the oars and they drifted over the sandy shallows until the transom grated in the sand. A dead perch lolling belly up in the clear water. Yellow leaves. They left their shoes on the warm painted boards and dragged the boat up onto the beach and set out the anchor at the end of its rope. A lardcan poured with concrete with an eyebolt in the center. They walked along the shore while his uncle studied the treestumps, puffing at his pipe, a manila rope coiled over his shoulder. He picked one out and they turned it over, using the roots for leverage, until they got it half floating in the water. Trousers rolled to the knee but still they got wet. They tied the rope to a cleat at the rear of the boat and rowed back across the lake, jerking the stump slowly behind them. By then it was already evening. Just the slow periodic rack and shuffle of the oarlocks. The lake dark glass and windowlights coming on along the shore. A radio somewhere. Neither of them had spoken a word. This was the perfect day of his childhood. This the day to shape the days upon.

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4.6 étoiles sur 5
4.6 étoiles sur 5
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9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The road: portons aussi la lumière! 2 juin 2009
Oui, oui, et trois fois oui!
Lu en VO, après quelques pages pour s'habituer au style qui va incroyablement bien de paire avec le monde raconté par McCarthy, je fus saisi; si bien que quelques heures plus tard, après avoir été "malade" plutôt que d'être allé en cours, j'en sortais, les larmes aux yeux.
Oui c'est ici la plus belle histoire d'amour dont on puisse rêver, celle d'un père qui va tout donner pour son fils, pour que celui ci reçoive en héritage tout ce qui reste de l'humanité: l'espoir. Dans la traversée d'un monde apocalyptique, ou même la ponctuation s'est perdue, on sursaute et s'inquiete à chaque fin de page. Nos personnages ne sont pas particulièrement des héros, ils ne sauvent pas les malheureux esclaves destinés à être dévorés, mais veillent l'un sur l'autre, sur tout ce qui leur reste.
Quant aux allergiques à l'anglais (quelques mots de vocabulaire et structures ne sont pas aisées...) sachez que la traduction française est globalement très réussie et très fidèle (bien que certains détails impossibles à traduire aient été omis), très dans l'esprit de McCarthy, très satisfaisant.
Enfin, pour ceux que ça interresse, ce texte était la version du concours MP-PC Polytechnique cette année...
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21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ce livre fait froid dans le dos 22 septembre 2007
Ceux qui sont familiers avec l'oeuvre de McCarthy reconnaîtront dès les premières lignes le style particulier de l'auteur, alternant descriptions complexes et dialogues dépouillés. Comme d'habitude, les personnages évoluent dans un environnement glauque et hostile. Ce qui change par rapport aux livres précédents, c'est que cette fois-ci l'action du livre se déroule dans un paysage postapocalyptique, où seulement quelques rescapés survivent tant bien que mal et où il n'y a plus d'espoir. L'absence d'avenir est palpable et oppressant. L'homme a vécu dans l'Amérique d'avant la catastrophe, son fils n'a connu que les paysages froids et poussiéreux où le soleil ne brille jamais. Pour ce dernier, la découverte du goût du Coca est un rare moment de bonheur.
The Road est aussi l'histoire de l'amour d'un père pour son fils, plus fort que tout. Le père est cynique, pour lui ne compte que la survie de son fils et lui. Le caractère du fils illustre que, malgré tout, McCarthy croit en l'homme. La bonté naturelle de l'enfant n'a pas encore été détruit par l'epérience de la vie.
Ce livre est un avertissement. Le monde court à la catastrophe et le livre de McCarthy est un scénario plausible de ce qui pourrait nous attendre.
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4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 survivre au cauchemar 15 juin 2009
Cela fait un an maintenant que j'ai lu ce livre, en anglais. J'ai du mal à imaginer la traduction.

Il m'a rendu malade: mal de tète, difficulté à m'endormir, et pourtant je n'ai pas pu le lâcher. C'est vrai que l'écriture est difficile au début, dérangeante, mais on s'y fait assez vite et on entre dans ce cauchemar si terrible. L'espoir est au plus bas, mais il revient de temps en temps, comme pour mieux retomber. Plus on avance, mieux on comprend qu'il n'y a que la fin du monde au bout du chemin. Pourtant, a la fin du livre, l'auteur a quelques remords et veut nous laisser sur une note moins noire. Je ne m'y trompe pas. Un enfant, lui, bien sur, est tellement formidable, surtout après avoir reçu des tonnes d'amour paternel. Il garde foi et bonté, dans un océan d'horreur. Mais quand il grandira, que pourra-t-il faire?

A-t-on vraiment besoin de s'infliger ce type de lecture? Moi je ne suis pas prêt d'acheter un autre bouquin de Cormac McCarthy, j'ai besoin de quelques années pour me remettre. J'espère que la suite des aventures du petit garçon ne paraitra pas de sitôt... enfin si ca vous tente, allez-y, vous êtes prévenus!
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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 it murders sleep ! 8 février 2009
Il doit être difficile de trouver une description plus deshumanisée de notre planète au lendemain d'une catastrophe aussi dévastatrice que mondialisée ; les lieux n'ont plus de noms, les gens sont sans état civil, sans âge. On ne sait même plus ce qui reste à espérer tant on a peur de tout, mais on marche sur cette route avec ce père et son fils et tout au bout... une lueur enfin qu'on atteint hors d'haleine.
J'espère que la traduction en français restitue la force du texte original et l'atmosphère créée. Inoubliable !
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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 un livre gluant 26 mars 2009
Ce livre vous collera aux doigts. Je n'ai pu le poser qu'une fois arrivé au point final. Je ne connais pas la version française de cette oeuvre. La version originale est largement accessible.
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 on my ever-lengthening list of best-evers 2 novembre 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I had only just finished another book on the same theme - an America, possibly a world, post-apocalypse and had not thought that two such books would join my best-ever list.
A man and his son, we never learn their names, are following the road to reach the coast in search of something different from the cold, the dark, the ashes. they don't know what they will find.
They are in constant danger, not least from fellow-survivors, but also from illness, wounds, starvation. You ache for their safety. McCarthy's wonderful, evocative writing brings everything right home to you. You can't escape.
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Commentaires client les plus récents
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Too short.
A story that has been told before. McCarthy's writing style is quite is easy to read; just wish he had developed the story-line more.
Publié il y a 3 mois par gonzo/american
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sans hésiter
Ce livre est bouleversant, on ne peut pas rester indifférent, après une telle lecture. Lire la suite
Publié il y a 9 mois par B. marie-pierre
5.0 étoiles sur 5 magnifique
Une écriture fine, rien d'inutile, juste l'essentiel pour faire de ce livre un des rares qui changera la manière dont vous percevez l'homme et la nature.
Publié il y a 18 mois par lissa11
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Poétique et sombre
Un père et son fils tentent de survivre...tout simplement. les repères de bien et de mal ont changés. Lire la suite
Publié il y a 23 mois par Edouard Fecamp
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Chef d'oeuvre
C'est le roman de Cormac McCarthy que j'ai préféré à ce jour. Le style est un peu déroutant au début. Lire la suite
Publié il y a 24 mois par Aseb
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Le désespoir d'un monde post-apocalyptique
Dans un monde post-apocalyptique, où tout est enseveli sous la cendre, où le soleil même n'apparaît plus, un père et son fils errent sur les routes en... Lire la suite
Publié il y a 24 mois par Phil-Don
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Long is the road...
Je n'étais pas du tout familière de l'oeuvre de McCarthy et j'ai acheté ce livre car j'en avais entendu beaucoup de bien. Lire la suite
Publié le 16 novembre 2013 par Audrey B
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ai beaucoup aimé
Un beau livre qui traite de l'amour de la vie.
Lecture très agréable et parfaite pour se retirer
de notre quotidien le temps d'une journée/nuit.
Publié le 24 février 2013 par Martin G.
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The Emperor's New Clothes
I bought it when it was at a special price, seeing that it won the Pulitzer prize and that there were so many positive reviews. But I didn't really liked it. Lire la suite
Publié le 20 décembre 2012 par buddy_dacote
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Quel belle histoire !!
Certes, les amateurs de science fiction post cataclysme y trouveront tout ce qu'ils recherchent. Mais la route est un livre très dur qui raconte un l'histoire d'un homme et... Lire la suite
Publié le 30 novembre 2012 par Tobias Schenckell's
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